The Jackson women, Indiana and Amanda, have always had each other. Though their bond is strong, mother and daughter are as different as night and day. Indiana, a beautiful holistic healer, is a free-spirited bohemian. Long divorced from Amanda's father, she's reluctant to settle down with either of the men who want her - Alan, the wealthy scion of one of San Francisco's elite families, and Ryan, an enigmatic, scarred former Navy SEAL.
While her mom looks for the good in people, Amanda is fascinated by the dark side of human nature - as is her father, the SFPD's deputy chief of homicide. Brilliant and introverted, the MIT-bound high school senior Amanda is a natural-born sleuth addicted to crime novels and to Ripper, the online mystery game she plays with her beloved grandfather and friends around the world.
When a string of strange murders occurs across the city, Amanda plunges into her own investigation, probing hints and deductions that elude the police department. But the case becomes all too personal when Indiana suddenly vanishes. Could her mother's disappearance have something to do with the series of deaths? Now, with her mother's life on the line, Amanda must solve the most complex mystery she's ever faced before it's too late.
©2014 Isabel Allende (P)2014 HarperCollinsPublishers
"Edoardo Ballerini gives an impeccable performance of Isabel Allende's excursion into contemporary crime fiction." (AudioFile)
Isabel Allende's first mystery novel. Not surprisingly, the mystery itself is secondary to the many magical characters Allende brings to life. And yet, the puzzle the teenage members of the role-playing game (Ripper) are trying to solve grabs you from the beginning and doesn't let you go. Yes, some of the plot is far-fetched…but it wouldn't be Allende if there were no elements that were a tad fantastical. Edoardo Ballerini is the perfect reader for this. I have said before that he could read a phone book and I would listen. It was sheer pleasure to have him read Allende's novel. Definitely recommend.
I was surprised Isabel Allende had written a detective novel, but figured I'd give it a try since I've loved everything else of hers I've read. All I can say is this book was just too long. The ideas are good, the writing is good, but she needs to edit more critically. Too much of a good thing is just too much.
I selected this book because I enjoyed an earlier book that she wrote. I was disappointed in this one, though I did like part of the story line. I liked the group of diverse kids from around the world working to solve murders but the author only half developed their characters. I thought that part could have been an interesting study; however, mother was an unreal, flat character. The one legged Navy Seal with the dog with metal teeth was like something thrown in from an action/fantasy story and his relationship with the mother just didn't fit with the rest of the storyline.
If you are looking for a standard mystery novel, this is not it. Ripper is, like most of Allende's books, a slow, weaving story filled with many rich characters. She manages along the way to weave in commentary about everything from the foster care system to the mental and physical scars vets carry with them after war. More than anything, though, it seems like a love letter to the San Francisco Bay Area that Allende calls home, and if you are from the area, it is fun to connect with the many places she references. The fact that it is also a murder mystery seems incidental -- although it does propel the novel toward a climatic conclusion. Definitely worth listening to if you are already a fan of Allende's or aren't, at least, clinging to the traditional mystery format.
Yes. I have enjoyed her previous works, which were more historical fiction. Now she seems to be trying out crime novels. This one was one cliche after another and left me disappointed. I look forward to seeing more work from Allende of the type that really suits her.
I am a 65-year-old psychologist, married for 25 years, with two sons who are 25 and 22. I love reviewing the books and the feedback I get.
Where do I start here? How about with the protagonist in the book. Her name is Indiana Jackson. Have you ever in your entire life known a person of either gender whose first name is Indiana? Neither have I. A small thing, but it has the ring of false-hood.
I love Edoardo Ballerini. I have listened to about thirty books that he has read, and I've loved almost all of them. Even he can't save this mess. I gave up after four hours, which I think is a decent amount of time to judge whether I am enjoying a book or not. Not. I believe there is supposed to be a murder mystery somewhere in the book, but I heard little about that. What I heard about was a whole lot of she said-she said, and a whole lot about women who go to a lot of yoga classes, plus hydrotherapy, aroma therapy, hypnosis, and so forth. Even in the world of Ms. Allende, these are extremely pampered individuals. And, BTW, I am a psychologist, so I am not at all adverse to hearing about people's experiences in psychotherapy.
I live in the same neck of the woods as Ms. Allende, and I know that she is a major star in the world of Latinas; my wife comes from Colombia. That, combined with the chance to listen to Mr. Ballerini disposed me positively towards the book. No use. It may be the case that millions of women, and maybe a few men, love this kind of writing, but I don't. And I love murder mysteries, detective novels and thrillers: still no good. If you are a fan of Ms. Allende's, then you may well like this. As you have clearly seen by this point: I didn't.
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